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Kathy Acker’s practice of literary appropriation and pastiche made her notorious—as a rebel and a groundbreaker—when Great Expectations was first published in 1982. Here, she begins rewriting Charles Dickens’s classic—splicing it with passages from Pierre Guyotat’s sexually violent Eden, Eden, Eden , among other texts—alongside Acker’s trademark pithy dialogue, as well as prank missives to the likes of Susan Sontag, Sylvère Lotringer, and God.At the center of this form-shifting narrative, Acker’s protagonist collects an inheritance following her mother’s suicide, which compels her to revisit and reinterpret traumatic scenes from the past. Switching perspectives, identities, genders, and centuries, the speaker lustily ransacks world literature to celebrate and challenge the discourse around art, love, life, and death.
The 30th Anniversary Edition, with a new introduction by Alexandra Kleeman, author of the novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and the story collection Intimations Chris Kraus’s biography, After Kathy Acker , was published to wide acclaim, with coverage prominently featuring photographs of Acker, sparking a renewed interest in the cult icon Our Anniversary Edition of Acker’s Blood and Guts in High School —the corrected text, with an introduction by Kraus—was published in November More Acker reissues are forthcoming, including Great Expectations and [/i]Essential Acker: the Selected Writings of Kathy Acker[/i]
A masterpiece of surrealist fiction, steeped in controversy upon its first publication in 1984, Blood and Guts in High School is the book that established Kathy Acker as the preeminent voice of post-punk feminism. With 2017 marking the 70th anniversary of her birth, as well as the 10th year since her death this transgressive work of philosophical, political, and sexual insight—with a new introduction by Chris Kraus—continues to become more relevant than ever before. In the Mexican city of Merida, ten-year-old Janey lives with Johnny—her “boyfriend, brother, sister, money, amusement, and father”—until he leaves her for another woman. Bereft, Janey travels to New York City, plunging into an underworld of gangs and prostitution. After escaping imprisonment, she flees to Tangiers where she meets Jean Genet, and they begin a torrid affair that will lead Janey to her demise. Fantastical, sensual, and fearlessly radical, this hallucinatory collage is both a comic and tragic portrait of erotic awakening.